Celtics, To Tank or Transition?
One month into the NBA season, what have we learned about the Boston Celtics? First and foremost the Celtics are not a team you can circle on the schedule as an easy win. Just ask the Miami Heat. They are a scrappy bunch that will battle to the final buzzer. Which leads many to believe once Rajon Rondo is cleared to return from injury the Celtics will… Wait for it; be in contention for the seventh or eighth seed in the weak Eastern Conference. You’re better off losing 70 games and drafting a top five prospect rather than bowing out in the first round of the playoffs. Unlike football, baseball and hockey you need the best players on your roster to be a true championship contender. If not, you may never experience the joy of an NBA Championship parade.
I would never condone losing on purpose, though just between you and me, it‘s in the best interest of the Celtics to lose as many games as possible. The Celtics are not contending for a championship anytime soon especially with the roster assembled. Celtics fans no firsthand how quickly the fortunes of a franchise can change if you A) draft the best player (Bill Russell, Larry Bird) or B) trade a bunch of young talent for a former MVP which then instantly catapults you from the bottom of the league to perennially championship contender. No need to worry, the Celtics will eventually get back to the championship expectations Celtics nation has grown accustomed to.
The 2014 NBA Draft is hyped as being the best draft in a decade. Stocked with super prospects, which include a batch of freshmen in Kansas Jayhawk Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker of Duke, Kentucky Wildcat Julius Randle and Arizona’s Aaron Gordon, and one sophomore Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart. A top five pick will certainly deliver one of these prospects that will hold value either as a franchise changer or as a trade chip. Therefore the Celtics don’t need the number one pick. A lottery pick will result in an intriguing prospect, a top five pick will for certain. Don’t embrace tanking but the odds of losing the majority of games are pretty high.
Celtics fans need to embrace the transition era. The Celtics don’t need to tank because they are already built to lose. Yes, Rondo will help once he returns from his ACL injury but he is not enough to catapult the Celtics to contender.
Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge has put the Celtics in prime position to collect young talent via the draft for the next five years. The Celtics will improve in due time, should they tank? I can’t condone tanking; The Celtics are a competitive team. A Playoff team? Not so much. There is no need to tank, but no need to worry, the Celtics will be in contention for the number one overall draft pick come this spring.